Let me open by saying I find it funny. I find it fucking hilarious. All you can see from the ground outside is a field of red looking into my bathroom window. Red.
The hammer and sickle are hidden by a strip of red vinyl.
So it’s a Soviet flag. Yes, a Soviet flag hanging in my bathroom window, acting as a curtain so that you can’t see me pissing from the alley behind my house. So I ask, would people rather see me letting loose in all my glory, or a field of red?
Why do I have a Soviet flag at all?
It’s a fair question, and one I have an answer to. I’ve always been interested in Soviet history, mainly because it was supposedly based on the Marx-Engels Communist Manifesto. This is the first and greatest misconception.
Late in his life, when Karl Marx was asked what he thought about the rising tide of so-called Marxists in Central and Eastern Europe, he quickly responded: “If anything is certain, it is that I myself am not a Marxist.” Marx’s ideological framework was being twisted long before the rise of the Soviet Union, even before his death.
Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, better known to the world as Lenin, was a fiery speaker with fiery ideas. He had read Marx, but he disagreed on several of his assumptions about the transistion from capitalism to communism. The major issue was Marx’s belief that the will of the people to stop serving the capitalist society would happen spontaneously and en masse. Lenin disagreed, saying that the great body of people would never come to the conclusion to free themselves from serving the aristocracy. Lenin believed that a vanguard party consisting of part intellectual elite and part strongarm was necessary to invoke, organize, and direct the people to a new life.
Lenin placed himself at the head of this vanguard party, employing a carefully woven cast of scholars and bullies to lead the masses to revolution. In forming this vanguard party, Lenin had done two things:
1) He strayed from the central message of Marxist philosophy, which was that all socio-economic systems go through changes according to the limitations of each ideological phase. Marx’s point was that capitalism would eventually find its ceiling, which would necessitate a major change in economic and governmental processes. Marx did not believe in a revolution agitated by a particular body of people (Lenin’s vanguard, for instance), and knew that such a revolution would not equate to liberation of the masses, but instead would simply be a changing of the reins.
2) In his organization of an elite body directing the revolution, Lenin had not only taken the people’s revolution out of the hands of the people, but he also created the need for a forceful arm of the vanguard party which would later bring the rise of one of history’s greatest tyrants–Stalin.
What started as a socio-political evolutionary theory by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels grew into Lenin’s means of commanding the masses via the vanguard party. Armed with the promise of “freeing the people,” Lenin and his party led rallies and raids against the weakening Czarist regime.
Marx’s framework of communism was NEVER followed, because Marxist communism never required a revolution fed by blood and fire. This was something Lenin added on later. Lenin’s belief that force was necessary to change only continued the enslavement of the people, especially after Lenin was replaced by the charismatic and brilliantly insane Josef Stalin.
Stalin was even less a Marxist than his predecessor. While making the people believe he had freed them, Stalin committed mass murder on a unmatched scale, even when compared to the Nazi Holocaust.
So what’s my point?
My point is that when the masses are under-educated, any ideology can be twisted into a source of amassed power, greed, and death. Marx had never intended for a bloody Russian revolution or the purging of millions of innocent Eastern Europeans. Because Lenin had strayed from the Marxist ideology by using brute force and rhetoric to sway the masses into his favor, communism became known as a great evil, even though true Marxist Communism has never seen the light of day.
So why do I hang the Soviet Flag in my Bathroom?
To remind the American people of what happens to societies who forget themselves by simply following thier leaders. Democracy is an philosophical ideal aimed at providing the masses with the power to rule themselves by their own individual wills, but it only works if the constituents of the Democracy are policing their own government every step of the way.
There are people who blindly support those in power, even if those in power are in the wrong. It happened when Stalin led the Soviet Union, and it’s happening in this country (albeit to a lesser extent) even as I write this. Those of us who question the motives of the Bush regime are called unpatriotic by the ones blindly following the administration. It’s the other way around.
It is the responsibility of the American citizen to speak out against those in power, especially when they’re killing our brothers and sisters in an unwinnable gutter war overseas. It is the responsibility of the American citizen to criticize the government, especially when our leaders lie to us and make federal decisions for personal gain. When our country was founded by our forefathers, the people did not answer to the government; the government answered to its people. This is the only way to maintain a healthy democracy. Anything less decays into a corrupt oligarchy.
The ones attempting to silence the opposition with cries of blind nationalism are the tyrants in this country, just as the opposition is silenced in every tyranny since the beginning of civilization.
So why do I have a Soviet Flag hanging in my bathroom?
1) So you can’t see me taking a piss in my bathroom,
2) To remind us of what we become when blindly follow our leaders.